Andy Hunter was at Goodison Park, and his verdict is in. Here it is! Thanks for reading this MBM.
Mikel Arteta’s turn. “It was a really tough match … we knew it was going to be tough … we started the game pretty well but after 20 minutes we started to lose a little bit of control and played the sort of game they wanted to play … one set piece, that’s what they do, and they slowed the game down … we have to create much more than we did today … we needed more composure … I told them today I love them much better than the week before, the month before, six months before, because it is easy to be next to someone who is winning and playing well but now is the moment to be next to them because they deserve it … I’m so proud of the players … this is not going to be a rose pathway, it’s going to be tricky, difficult, you will have to react to disappointment, dig in and play better than we did today.”
Sean Dyche speaks to BT Sport. “The players have taken a lot on this week and I thank them for that because it’s not easy … the minimum requirement is maximum effort and there was plenty of that today … the basic requirements never change, you have to win your battles and your races … we can still improve but that comes with confidence and that comes with results … we are committed to the cause … it gives us a platform to move forward … the players have given a lot this week and to get that performance right, I’m delighted for them.”
That’s a huge three points for Sean Dyche and Everton! They climb out of the bottom three, for a couple of hours at least. Goodison Park is in party mode. “What an atmosphere!” their goalscoring hero James Tarkowski tells BT Sport. “Fair play to the fans. There have been tough times. A change of management, but we’ve bought into it straight away. Hopefully this is the turning point. We’ve got to get our heads down and crack on.” As for Arsenal, there goes a chance to tear eight points clear of Manchester City. Should Pep Guardiola’s side win at Spurs tomorrow, their lead will be just two. The title race – and the battle to avoid the drop – starts here!
FULL TIME: Everton 1-0 Arsenal
Goodison erupts with glee! A new manager bounce! What a result for Sean Dyche, one that has huge significance at both ends of the table!
90 min +6: Everton continue to break up the play in the professional style. This is marvellous game management as they look to secure three precious points.
90 min +5: Maupay and Zinchenko are both yellow carded for an off-the-ball incident. They were wrestling like big children. It nearly kicks off, but not quite.
90 min +4: An Arsenal throw. They can’t restart the game because there are two balls on the pitch.
90 min +3: Trossard clumsily skittles Gueye and Arsenal’s attempt to launch an attack is needlessly over. The clock ticks on, with the Everton faithful hollering at top volume, doing all they can to heave their lads over the line.
90 min +2: Saka wins Arsenal a corner on the right. He takes it himself. He pulls it back for Zinchenko, all alone on the edge of the D. Zinchenko’s effort, intended for the top left, is decent but always flying over the bar. Pickford had it covered.
90 min +1: Onana works his way down the left wing, hassling Tomiyasu all the way. He ends up winning a throw, and the clock ticks on in Everton’s favour.
90 min: There will be six minutes of additional time.
89 min: Tarkowski is the corner hero at the other end this time, heading Arsenal’s desperate one clear. Arsenal come back at Everton, but Zinchenko shanks a dismal long-distance effort wide left.
88 min: Saka slips Vieira into space down the right. Vieira reaches the byline and attempts to cut back, but the ball’s blocked out for a corner. Saka to take.
87 min: It’s all very bitty. Everton won’t mind this at all.
86 min: Pickford is booked for taking his sweet time over a goal kick.
85 min: White is replaced by Tomiyasu.
84 min: Maupay sends a dribbler of a shot into the arms of Ramsdale from 25 yards. Sean Dyche is signally not happy with his decision-making process. Maupay can expect to receive some beneficial advice later on.
83 min: McNeil wins a corner for Everton down the left. Iwobi swings it towards the near post. Saliba heads clear under pressure. That’s as well as Arsenal have dealt with a corner today.
82 min: Trossard glides in from the left only to curl wastefully wide right and high. Arsenal are beginning to show a little desperation.
80 min: Saka crosses from the right. Trossard can’t control on the corner of the six-yard box. Another goal kick. Everton edge ever closer to three precious points.
79 min: Xhaka drives down the left and crosses long for Saka, who snatches at his shot under pressure from Maupay. Goal kick.
78 min: Trossard cuts in from the left and sends a low swerving shot goalwards. Pickford parries well and Everton clear their lines.
77 min: Odegaard hasn’t been on his game today, and he makes way for Vieira.
75 min: McNeil dribbles with purpose down the left and wins a corner. Iwobi takes. Arsenal make a meal of clearing it, but nobody can slam it home from the middle of a melee. Eventually the flag goes up for offside, but Arsenal looked extremely uncomfortable defending that corner. They’ve been extremely uncomfortable defending them all afternoon.
73 min: Everton look pretty comfortable right now, as they close in on a third consecutive Goodison victory over Arsenal.
71 min: Trossard takes another corner, and yet again fails to get the ball past the first man. “Where is Mary Waltz?” demands Jeff Sax. “She must be ecstatic.” Pretty much. In an email headed “expert analysis”, she writes: “My play by play of the goal. OOOOOMYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYyGGGGGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOODDDDDDDDD.”
69 min: Onana is booked for a late side on White. Then Maupay shoves Xhaka in the chest. For a second, it looks like kicking off, but Xhaka, of all people, is the man who calms everyone down. Everton playing well, Xhaka a peacemaker, it’s a new dawn all right.
67 min: Iwobi is robbed in the middle of the park and Odegaard races towards the Everton box. He shapes to shoot, but Coady times his challenge perfectly and the opportunity is gone.
65 min: The ball bagatelles around the Everton box. Maupay comes barging in on Gabriel, who in turn skittles Gueye. VAR double-checks for a penalty, but while all the challenges were hard, they were also fair. We play on.
64 min: Trossard grooves his way down the left and wins Arsenal a corner. He takes it himself … and hits the first man. That’s not good at all.
63 min: Mykolenko has been hassling Saka all afternoon, but now he oversteps the mark, cynically tripping him and going into the book.
62 min: Everton were preparing a change and make it anyway. Calvert-Lewin is replaced by Maupay. “Goal!” screams Jeff Sax. “There can be no doubt that Lampard has no clue about managing.”
GOAL! Everton 1-0 Arsenal (Tarkowski 60)
Iwobi wins a corner down the right. McNeil hits it long. Tarkowski rises at the far post, overpowering Odegaard and slamming a header home from close range. Simple as that! McNeil to Tarkowski, then. A goal made in Burnley.
59 min: Arsenal make a double change. Martinelli and Partey make way for Trossard and, making his Gunners debut, Jorginho.
58 min: Martinelli powers his way down the inside-left channel, then sends Nketiah away down the wing. He enters the box and cuts back for Odegaard, who slaps a first-time shot wide left and high. The move deserved better.
57 min: Mykolenko shanks a dismal effort miles wide from distance. Full marks for ambition, if nothing else.
56 min: Everton’s press is a little less intense, and so, on the touchline, Mikel Arteta encourages his men to step it up. “Lampard was fired from Chelsea and the team improved drastically in their next match,” writes Kári Tulinius. “That pattern seems to be repeating itself, at least as far as the first half goes. If it weren’t for his decent Derby team, you’d have to wonder if Lampard just wasn’t cut out for managing.”
54 min: Saka nearly gets past Mykolenko on the right but has to settle for a corner. From the set piece, Saka then Nketiah take speculative shots from the edge of the box. Both are blocked. Arsenal are carrying much more of a threat since the restart.
53 min: McNeil crosses deep from the left. At the far post, Zinchenko chests down calmly into the arms of Ramsdale. That’s ice-cool defending.
51 min: A lovely pitch-long sweeping move by Arsenal. Ramsdale to White on the right, then across to Martinelli on the left via Odegaard and Xhaka. Martinelli cuts back to Xhaka, whose low shot pinballs around for a while before Everton clear. For the first time this afternoon, Everton looked stretched.
49 min: McNeil is nearly robbed by White as he tries to play out from the back. He’s fortunate that White clanks the ball out for a goal kick. A more elegant nick off his toe, and White was clear in the box.
47 min: Everton are on the front foot again. Iwobi crosses from the right. Doucoure can’t get a shot away so tees up Gueye instead. Gueye smacks a shot through a thicket of players. It’s deflected towards the top right. Ramsdale makes an astonishing reaction stop, then the flag goes up for offside. It wouldn’t have counted, but what a stop that was. A mid-air change of direction that Billy the Fish would have been proud of.
Everton get the second half underway. No changes.
Half-time entertainment. As Everton fans know only too well, some teams spent more than others during the transfer window. Barney Ronay offers his take on those spendthrifts down south.
HALF TIME: Everton 0-0 Arsenal
The whistle goes and a fairly content Sean Dyche heads off down the tunnel. Goodison shows its appreciation for their team’s efforts. Baby steps, small acorns, all that, but it’s been an encouraging 45 minutes for Everton.
45 min +3: Coleman digs out a cross from the right. Calvert-Lewin flashes a header wide left from six yards. Had that been on target, Ramsdale was never getting there.
45 min +2: Coleman rolls a hospital pass back to Pickford, who shins it away from danger just in time, with Nketiah sliding in, hoping to block. Evertonian hearts were in mouths there!
45 min +1: The first of three bonus first-half minutes passes without incident.
45 min: Xhaka, Partey and Odegaard combine cutely down the left, but the final ball is lacking. Arsenal are finally finding their feet just as half-time looms. So much for wanting to hear the half-time whistle. Pulitzer, please!
43 min: Martinelli is going nowhere down the left, so Gueye helps him out by needlessly tugging on his shoulder. A free kick. Arsenal load the box, whereupon Xhaka flicks lamely out for a goal kick.
41 min: Pickford was beaten all ends up by that volley. It’s hardly breaking news, but Saka is some player all right. “It wouldn’t surprise me if Mykolenko comes from tailoring stock,” writes Alex Whitney. “Assuming Saka’s jersey is size Medium, it must be an XL by now.”
39 min: … so having said that, Saka meets a looping left-wing cross with a delicious volley, steering it diagonally towards the bottom-left corner. It’s so sweetly struck, and deserves reward, but Coady is on the line to hack clear. Fine defending, but what a goal that would have been!
38 min: Arsenal slow things down with some sterile possession. They’re not exactly on the rack, but could probably do with hearing the half-time whistle so they can have a rethink.
36 min: Odegaard tries to release White on the right with a pass down the channel, but overhits it. Goal kick. Pickford has had nothing to do so far. “I like the concept of half-of-one-half being a ‘honeymoon period’,” writes Colin Young. “Goodness, if Big Sean manages to actually win this game, he’ll create a whole new family.”
34 min: Dyche had his head in his hands at that near miss, and he’s throwing similar shapes now, as McNeil crosses from the left only for Doucoure, unmarked in the middle, eight yards out, to head tamely wide right. Everton look revitalised! Arsenal are second best right now.
33 min: Onana skins White and Odegaard down the left, racing into the box. He whistles a low ball through the six-yard box. Calvert-Lewin must score, but can’t get a significant touch on the ball, which somehow flies away to safety on the other side.
32 min: Partey snoozes on the ball in midfield and allows Doucoure to stride off with it. Partey is forced to stop Doucoure’s momentum illegally, and it’s a free kick in a dangerous position. Everton load the box, but McNeil’s delivery is awful, hanging in the air and easy pickings for Ramsdale.
30 min: Nketiah tries a one-two with Odegaard down the middle but Mykolenko is wise to the grift and intercepts. No matter, he comes again, and after Saka holds off Mykolenko down the right, he’s released into the box with a cool pass down the channel. He’s one on one with Pickford, but slices wildly into the crowd from a not-particularly-tight angle. A good chance, that.
28 min: Arsenal are struggling to deal with the Everton press at the moment. They’re not their normal fluent selves. Meanwhile Charles Antaki observes: “Things must’ve been really bad here for couple of routine corners now to generate hysterical ecstasy in the crowd.”
26 min: Onana tries to lob Ramsdale from distance. He doesn’t quite manage it. But Everton are on the front foot here. Does this qualify as a honeymoon period for Sean Dyche?
24 min: That little burst of activity has the Goodison faithful in fine voice. Gary Naylor’s high on life too. “Five men in the box in open play for that Iwobi cross, Scott! Is it 1987?”
22 min: Yep, he’s been doing that all right. Everton win a fourth corner in quick succession, and having hit three long ones in a row, this one’s sent from the left by Iwobi to the near post, where Calvert-Lewin glances wide.
21 min: McNeil swings the corner deep. Onana rises at the left-hand post and his presence forces another corner. Iwobi to take this one. That goes deep too, and now Tarkowski forces a third corner. This one’s cleared, but it’s obvious that Dyche has got his men working on set pieces.
20 min: Iwobi whips a cross in from the right, hoping to find Doucoure. Gabriel is forced to head behind for a corner. Everton load the box.
19 min: Saka’s good to continue and, adding insult to injury, is booed loudly upon taking possession of the ball. Tough crowd.
17 min: Saka copped a proper whack there, actually, and his right eye and cheek has swelled up a tad. The physio continues to make some running repairs. Here’s Mary Waltz again: “Well the Goodison faithful are trying to respond to SEAN (what a idiot I am) Dyche’s call for unity, park the bus, good ole route one, shine your boots on your opponents shin, so far so good.”
15 min: Gueye holds off Saka by wafting a few fingers in his face. On comes the physio with the magic sponge. A pause in play. Meanwhile here’s Stephen Carr: “I’m looking forward to the day when we see a plane dragging a banner that says ‘I’m really pleased with how things are going. Another couple of signings and you never know what might happen.’”
13 min: Partey shimmies into space down the middle and lays off to Xhaka, who asks too much of Martinelli down the left with an overly insistent pass. Goal kick. A promising position wasted.
11 min: Partey takes a whack from 25 yards, but it dribbles through harmlessly to Pickford. Arsenal have enjoyed 77 percent of possession so far.
10 min: Replays show that Calvert-Lewin would almost certainly have been flagged offside had he scored, but that’s got the crowd going if nothing else.
9 min: McNeil has a dig from distance. His shot is blocked but nearly deflects into the path of Calvert-Lewin. Not quite, and Ramsdale can deny the striker a chance to shoot with a brave smother.
8 min: Onana goes down, having taken a whack upside the head in an aerial duel with Saliba. He’s up again soon enough. Meanwhile overhead, in the World of Sport style, a plane drags a banner that reads: “LEAGUES WORST RUN CLUB #TIME2GOBILL”
6 min: Everton are set up in a nice, compact 4-5-1. They’re snapping into tackles. Dycheball, right here.
4 min: Martinelli nearly burns his way past Coleman down the left. The veteran Evertonian manages to stay shoulder to shoulder this time, shepherding his opponent out for a goal kick. Only just, though.
2 min: Odegaard probes down the right. Mykolenko gets right up behind him, hassling, harrying, eventually fouling. An early sign that Dyche’s Everton will come out swinging.
Arsenal get the ball rolling. “High-flying Arsenal, visiting Goodison Park to play an Everton side they’re expected to comfortably beat?” wonders Matt Dony. “Everton don’t have some 16-year-old prodigy on the bench, do they? Could come in useful.”
The teams are out! Everton in blue, Arsenal in red. Always a delight when both teams can sport their first-choice colours. A fine atmosphere inside Goodison. We’ll be off in a couple of shakes.
Letters from America. “Morning greetings from California!” begins Mary Waltz, in an email that, as you’ll see, works both as satire and freudian slip. “It’s pitch dark, no moonlight, no starlight. The perfect setting to watch my Everton ride their horse into the valley of…. no, that is too dire an outlook. C’mon Sam, work your relegation magic, Pickford, don’t surrender a goal and we can get a point. Always look on the bright side of life, eh?”
Meanwhile South Carolina resident Mac Millings impressively works himself up into a pun frenzy at seven in the morning: “I’m somewhat puzzled by Arsenal’s ‘TEAMNEWS‘ tweet. Saliba gets a brick emoji because he’s strong and solid. Odegaard gets a wand because he’s a wizard. But why does Martinelli get a fountain pen? The only thing I can think of is that it’s an explanation of why he has been preferred to his new squadmate, Leandro. Because, you know, ‘The pen is mightier than Trossard.’”
Mikel Arteta speaks to BT. “We have done a really good window, but now we move on. It’s great to have good options on the bench. We know we have a big task today. They have a new manager, a new environment, and we have to be at our best. It will be really tough. Our record here in the last few years is not great, so we have to put that to bed.”
That fractious atmosphere, then. A peaceful protest against the Everton board is taking place outside Goodison. Solidarity.
Sean Dyche talks to BT Sport. “You’re trying to fast-track a pre-season’s work, five weeks’ work of blending into five days. The players have been receptive. A lot of hard work, a lot of honesty. So I’m looking to build on that. They’re professional people, they know they’re not firing on all cylinders. A lot of respect for the outgoing manager, they felt they could have done more. I said we need to do more, quite obviously.”
He’s asked whether the squad is good enough to stay up. “We’ll see, we’ll see. But it’s good enough on paper. A lot of these players have been bought for a lot of money. I showed them some of their pasts, their history, some of their achievements. These are good players, they haven’t come here for no reason. There’s a very strong, good group of players. But taking action and delivering, that’s the next step.”
As for the fractious atmosphere enveloping the club? “The fans love and care for the club. It’s easier to care about a club when it’s going great. Now we need it when it’s not going great, now more than ever. So all I can ask is a bit of patience, give us a breather, give the players a breather, give them their support, give me their support, because without that it’s going to be even tougher. So if we can get everyone to buy back into the Everton heartbeat, it’s a minimum, but it’s a requirement. We’ve got to show on there. We’ve got to show as a team, as a manger, that we care. But they just need to give us a chance, and I think they will. Evertonians do love this club, I’m learning very quickly. I’ve got to earn the respect of them, and I intend on doing that with a lot of hard work.”
Sean Dyche’s first selection as Everton manager sees two changes from Frank Lampard’s last. Dwight McNeil and Abdoulaye Doucoure replace Demarai Gray and Yerry Mina.
Arsenal are in If It Ain’t Broke mode. Their Premier League line-up is unchanged.
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Coady, Tarkowski, Mykolenko, Doucoure, Onana, Gueye, Iwobi, McNeil, Calvert-Lewin.
Subs: Begovic, Holgate, Gray, Mina, Maupay, Godfrey, Davies, Vinagre, Simms.
Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Martinelli, Partey, Xhaka, Saka, Odegaard, Nketiah.
Subs: Turner, Tierney, Tomiyasu, Holding, Kiwior, Jorginho, Vieira, Trossard, Cozier-Duberry.
Nineteenth-placed Everton are in a spot of relegation-infused bother; league leaders Arsenal are going for their first title since 2004. Everton have picked up one point from the last 21 available; Arsenal’s haul over the same period is 19. The cumulative score of Everton’s last seven matches is 4-16; Arsenal on the other hand are winning 15-5. All signs, then, point to an easy victory for the in-form Gunners against a team in crisis.
Nothing’s ever quite that cut and dried, though, is it? So here’s some hope for the Toffees: they’ve won this fixture in three of the last four seasons, drawing the other. And if that’s not enough, there’s a new man in their dugout, and you can never rule out a honeymoon bounce. So with both teams desperate for the three points, for very different reasons, this is nicely set up and could be a whole lot of fun. Kick off is at 12.30pm GMT. It’s on!